Hanoi – Vietnamese police plan to soon shut down a popular website run by a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur for violating rules on copyright and political content, a police official said Wednesday. “The leaders of the company have admitted their wrongdoing,” said Dinh Huu Tan, deputy head of the Hanoi Police Department for Ideological and Cultural Security.
The search portal, timnhanh.com, belongs to VON, a company owned by Paul Nguyen Hung.
The newspaper Hanoi Security quoted police sources Wednesday as saying the website had hosted pornography as well as “misleading information” about the Vietnamese Communist Party and government policies.
VON, or the Vietnam Online Network, was licensed in 2007 by Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication to operate websites with a commercial purpose.
It operates 13 sites, including the job search sites kiemviec.com and hrvietnam.com, and the automobile sales site xe.timnhanh.com. Those sites would continue to operate.
But Vietnamese media reported Wednesday that timnhanh.com had instead become an electronic news portal and had reprinted information from other news sources in violation of copyright laws and had published unauthorized political content.
Tan said authorities would employ only administrative punishments because they had not gathered enough evidence for a criminal case against VON.
Under Vietnam’s Communist system, all domestic news organizations must be affiliated with the government.
The government has strengthened its control over the media during the past year, prosecuting two reporters who pursued corruption stories aggressively and firing editors at popular newspapers such as Tuoi Tre (Youth), Thanh Nien (The Young) and Dai Doan Ket (Great Unity).
In December, the government also introduced regulations on what types of information private bloggers may include in their blogs.